back to article NASA sends nuclear tank 293 million miles to Mars, misses landing spot by just five metres. Now watch its video

NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on the surface of Mars just five metres from its target, the American space agency said after releasing footage of the historic landing. As Perseverance plunged through the Martian atmosphere and shed its lower shell, its cameras were able to provide scientists with a view of …

  1. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Just wow

    Or WoT?

    Let's hunt the Martians!

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Just wow

      Let's hunt the Martians!

      Did anyone see the green flashes in the sky?

  2. JohnMurray

    They're not going to be happy-Martians if we keep dumping used spacecraft on them...

    1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Martians v Penguins. Let the battle commence

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Where was the earth-shattering kaboom? I wanted an earth-shattering kaboom!

        Love, Marvin

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          A Mars-shattering kaboom just not good enough for you?

          /sigh... some people

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Joke

      They're not going to be happy-Martians if we keep dumping used spacecraft on them...

      May be there are Martian Wombles to help pickup all the junk

      1. MyffyW Silver badge

        Wellington found the RTG source, Madame Cholet was disappointed to learn it was Pu-238. She had an eye on some southern hemisphere fireworks in homage to her French ancestry.

  3. UCAP

    A truly amazing video, and the glimpse of the descent carrier just before it flies away is amazing! Thanks to NASA for adding these cameras to the mission payload.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      topical xkcd is topical ...

      https://xkcd.com/2428/

      :-)

    2. Roland6 Silver badge

      The quality is also a testament to both the massive improvements to digital cameras over the decades and the bandwidth of radio communications.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        They've got better comms on Mars than most of the UK.

        1. HelpfulJohn

          Their lander cams are massively better than any web-cam I have here in UKland but I do have better digital cameras than those.

          I think the little robot's best cameras are better than any of mine and her upload speed is certainly better, even though she has lots of neighbours crowding the same bandwidth.

          We should land a radio dish on Mars so we could do Very, Very, Excessively Hugely Long Baseline Interferometry. Maybe drop it onto Mount Olympus? Maybe with an I.R and optical telescope so we could do "stereo" images in co-operating with Hubble or Earth-bound eyes?

          I'm sure we could land some in Ikea-flat-pack form and have a little robot snap together all of the bits.

          Make them modular and they could even be upgradeable using Gifts From Earth.

  4. Tessier-Ashpool

    Magnificent!

    Everything I could have wished for. Best space probe footage ever.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Magnificent!

      That video brought tears to my eyes.

      So awesome !

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Magnificent!

      Best space probe footage ever.

      Can't agree with that. Every mission is fantastic for its time. But, for me, it's difficult to top the footage from Cassini-Huygens. Though, if we ever manage to do something on Venus or in any of the oceans on Titan, Europa, Enceladus, etc., that would certainly count.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Magnificent!

        Rumor has it that there is additional audio that the probe captured, but NASA are keeping it secret. The audio, after post-processing and translating from Martian, is:

        “It’s a robot! I’ve never seen one in the wild before! Where d’you come from, fella? Can we keep him, Roy? If he doesn’t belong to anyone?”

      2. Paul Kinsler

        Re: it's difficult to top the footage from Cassini-Huygens

        I tend to agree, and I think it stands up now if you remember that was way back in 2005 on a probe launched in 1997. Of course, iirc, the Cassini-Huygens video was something of a construct built from not-really-video sources.

        MMV, naturally. What seems "best ever" is often dependent on ones age and personal history.

        1. Jaybus

          Re: it's difficult to top the footage from Cassini-Huygens

          Agreed. This is perhaps best ever in terms of video quality, certainly from Mars. But I am old and remember the Apollo 11 videos as the best ever.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Linux

    Thank you to the Linux Fanboi journalist for mentioning that Linux is running on the non-critical camera platform.

    The tech-brief obliquely mentions VxWorks which is used for the critical parts of the landing platform (including the cameras involved in the actual landing operation.)

    VxWorks often runs in hypervisor mode and can run itself, Linux or other OS as virtual machines.

    Anon because ... ... I couldn't possibly comment!

    1. John Robson Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Linux

      "I couldn't possibly comment!"

      And yet here we are ;)

    2. tfb Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: Linux

      The people in the press conference explicitly thanked the FFmpeg authors for their work. So it's not just journalists.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Linux

      VxWorks is an RTOS, and that's probably why it's used for things that work better with an RTOS.

      I used to compile images for Vx and Linux back in the day, wifi access points specifically. Vx had a much smaller footprint but of course required license fees etc.. One day the manager said "Fit it in 2M flash and we'll use Linux." We made it work.

      1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: Linux

        Linux was faster to the market with Snap Dragon support and so that is what is on the helicopter.

    4. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Hi, likely VxWorks worker

      Thing is, VxWorks is a staple of NASA missions. It's a given that it's running on the thing.

      As journalists, we're here to highlight what's new -- it's called news, right -- and what's new here is the use of customized Linux and FFMPEG. As someone above pointed out, NASA name-checked FFMPEG in their briefings, so that and the Linux side is newsworthy. We've written about VxWorks in the past on space missions.

      FWIW we're working on a separate piece describing the chips and OSes on the rover in more details, and I'll add a reference to VxWorks to this article.

      C.

      1. Electronics'R'Us
        Holmes

        Re: Hi, likely VxWorks worker

        VxWorks is by far the most common OS environment in aerospace (mission critical) applications and there are various flavours; VxWorks Cert is a bit more expensive (for the board support package) and is obviously constrained but it was designed for this sort of thing,

        Makes a lot of sense for NASA to use it.

        Safety critical could use it, but that is more the area of Greenhills Integrity (with the $MM price tag).

    5. aqk
      Boffin

      Re: Linux.. and Virtual machines?

      re- VxWorks often runs in hypervisor mode and can run itself, Linux or other OS as virtual machines.

      Migod- this takes me back to my old 1970s VM/370 days, when we sometimes ran a beta VM/370 under VM.

      Oh- And one guy (an IBMer) actually ran VM seven stages deep. Was it just as a test, or to impress his IBM "manager"? We'll never know.

      But he then either ran out of memory (Hey, 640KB should be enough for anyone!) or he ran out of disk room.

    6. aqk
      Boffin

      Re: Linux.. and Virtual Machines?

      re- "VxWorks often runs in hypervisor mode and can run itself, Linux or other OS as virtual machines. "

      Migod- this takes me back to my old 1970s VM/370 days, when we sometimes ran a beta VM/370 under VM.

      Oh- And one guy (an IBMer) actually ran VM seven stages deep. Was it just as a test, or to impress his IBM "manager"? We'll never know.

      But he then either ran out of memory (Hey, 640KB should be enough for anyone!) or he ran out of disk room.

  6. John Arthur
    Pint

    And for us East Pondians

    Hats off to Heathcoat Fabrics of Tiverton, Devon who made the material for the parachutes.

    1. Roger Kynaston Silver badge

      Re: And for us East Pondians

      Now, I didn't know that and I used to live outside Tiverton in the eighties.

      Exmoor Ale for them!

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: And for us East Pondians

        Can someone explain why the parachute panels are different colours? Is it so that the video will pick up anything unexpected in how the parachute behaves, or just some design pattern someone thought looked nice?

        I must say the thought of opening a parachute at supersonic velocity does sound quite frightening. It is the size of a baseball field and weighs less than me, so really hats off to the team in Tiverton. Maybe the factory will make it into el Reg's science tour of Great Britain?

        1. KarMann Bronze badge
          Boffin

          Re: And for us East Pondians

          Probably about half an hour or so into the press conference, when talking about the parachute, one of them said that the different colours were primarily so that they could know its orientation, and that pattern did a good job of making it clear which way was which. But secondarily, he strongly hinted at there being some sort of a secret message encoded in it, sort of like how Curiosity has 'JPL' encoded in Morse code on its wheels, so it's in all the tracks it makes. I wonder what the new secret message is?

          1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
            Holmes

            Re: And for us East Pondians

            Ninja'd by the Mr Jarvis below

        2. Adam Jarvis

          Re: Dare mighty things

          The Guardian has published the explanation. A Reddit user used a python script to work out the ASCII representation within the panels of the parachute, to show it reads "Dare mighty things".

          During Monday's briefing where the video was revealed, @NASAJPL's Al Chen mentioned there were hidden Easter Eggs within the video, he also mentioned the phrase, "Dare mighty things" in describing the work JPL does.

          The origins of the phrase are an 1899 speech by Theodore Roosevelt, in which he said: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though chequered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

          https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/23/dare-mighty-things-hidden-message-found-on-nasa-mars-rover-parachute

          1. Danny 2 Silver badge

            Re: Dare mighty things

            "those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much"

            That's patronising, I much prefer neither enjoying or suffering much. He who fights and runs away lives to run away another day.

            Genghis Khan fought a land war in Asia and destroyed everybody before him. He said the one people he regretted fighting was the Sami. The pacifist Sami just retreated north, and the cold killed all the Mongolians who followed them.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dare mighty things

              "[...] and the cold killed all the Mongolians who followed them."

              The Russians successfully used that tactic against Napoleon and then Hitler.

            2. HildyJ Silver badge
              Angel

              Re: Dare mighty things

              That's certainly Rincewind's philosophy. He also said he's not afraid of falling, he's afraid of landing. But he never had NASA technology helping him.

              1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

                Re: Dare mighty things

                Even Rincewind occasionally considered that although running away was his optimal way to deal with 'difficulties', the 'to' part of running should also, sometimes be considered.

          2. FrogsAndChips

            Re: Dare mighty things

            And the outer circle of the parachute codes for the GPS coordinates of the JPL.

            1. Eclectic Man Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Dare mighty things

              Well that is good, the Mysterons will know exactly where they need send the speeding ticket once it gets going.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: And for us East Pondians

        Theres about 5 breweries there. One each of everything!

    2. Lotaresco Silver badge

      Re: And for us East Pondians

      "Hats off to Heathcoat Fabrics of Tiverton, Devon"

      I came here to say that, dutifully scanned every comment to see if I was the first, and happy to see someone else got there before me. Well done Heathcoat Fabrics and thanks to those who appreciate their work.

      1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: And for us East Pondians

        Just looked them up, news article here:

        https://www.heathcoat.co.uk/perseverance-landing/

  7. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Pint

    We need a new reg standard

    what is the weight of a rover measured in.

    -> for the Perseverence team.

    Tea for the UAE team as well.

    1. tfb Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: We need a new reg standard

      The unit is the 'Sojourner', SI abbreviation is Sj. Perseverance is about 89Sj, Curiosity is about 78Sj.

    2. KarMann Bronze badge
      Boffin

      Re: We need a new reg standard

      244 Jub

      118 Adult Badgers

      1.15 Great White Sharks

      0.683 Skateboarding Rhinoceri [sic]

      0.0228 Australian Trams

      0.0019 LINQ Hotel Recycling

      Source

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sighed a breath of relief?

    Just FYI Katyana, the English expression is 'breathed a sigh of relief'. And machines are not 'plucky'; courage isn't something that can be programmed (yet).

    1. tfb Silver badge
      Alien

      Re: sighed a breath of relief?

      If we can treat ships as people we can treat rovers as people as well. As you would know if you had a functioning soul.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: sighed a breath of relief?

      However... Mars Rovers are known for their Sarcasm: https://twitter.com/SarcasticRover

    3. Muppet Boss

      Re: sighed a breath of relief?

      And JFYI it's Katyanna. That was lame anonymous mate.

    4. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

      Re: sighed a breath of relief?

      The epithet 'plucky' has been used by Vultures on both sides of the pond. It has been applied to more than 1 subject type, though at a quick glance, the term appears to be almost common parlance in being applied to machines, and especially space probes.

      https://search.theregister.com/?q=plucky

      'plucky Mars Express probe'

      https://www.theregister.com/2020/03/31/mars_express/

  9. 0laf Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Top stuff

    I've long thought it would be great to see video of one of these fantastic machines working on Mars, although I've accepted it probably didn't add much to the science.

    I'm not disappointed by the landing footage.

    I'm hoping we'll get regular little vides of work on the surface

    1. NerryTutkins

      Re: Top stuff

      Would love it one day if there was sufficient bandwidth to have this video in realtime during the landing. It was exciting enough watching a room full of boffins watching their data screens, but watching in hi-definition as the landing commences would be different level.

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Re: Top stuff

        There is something of a delay whilst the RF travels between Mars and Earth, a few minutes or so depending on where the two planets are in their sun orbit.

        But at least the electromagnetic stuff doesn't need to travel the Hohmann route.

        1. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Top stuff

          Brilliant stuff :)

          Ionisation during the atmospheric entry phase will sadly prevent the most spectacular images being streamed real-time from landers on their way down.

          When the MRO is replaced I'd expect that real time video feed will be included along with some spy-sat level optics, (will it be Elon or the Chinese posing for the photo-op!)

        2. tfb Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Top stuff

          But at least the electromagnetic stuff doesn't need to travel the Hohmann route.

          Well ... A Hohmann transfer is a geodesic which connects two planets. Light travelling from Mars to Earth travels along a geodesic connecting two planets, so ...

          (I know it's not the same really. Apart from anything else the light geodesics are null.)

    2. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Top stuff

      > although I've accepted it probably didn't add much to the science.

      But it adds a lot to the PR, which makes it easier to get the funding and no funding no science.

  10. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

    I think you mis-spelled 'two miles of carefully packed parachute lines'... we've only been packing the damn things since 1907. They've probably worked the kinks out by now, on the whole.

    (Yes, I pack my own reserve chute).

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

      And I would imagine a few thousand years of sailing and fishing worked out a lot of the kinks before that too - tar coated hemp ropes probably stick together too.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

      You say that, but I'm eternally in awe of anyone who can pack two miles of cable and somehow not have them immediately tied into physically impossible 5-dimensional knots the moment they turn their back. Shooting nuclear powered science labs into space on the end of a barely controlled explosion is all well and good, but parachute packers are clearly wizards.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

        Well, that is a point. It is clear that every new reserve that I've ever come across, perfectly packed from the factory, doubles in volume when repacked after a test unpack or deployment. Took me two days to get this one back in its pack the first time...

      2. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

        You say that, but I'm eternally in awe of anyone who can pack two miles of cable and somehow not have them immediately tied into physically impossible 5-dimensional knots the moment they turn their back.

        Well, the secret is that they don't have RJ45 connectors each end, so their propensity to tangle (with themselves, and all the others) is greatly reduced.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: ...two miles of cables that miraculously remained untangled.

          It appears parachute lines have a special anti-quantum coating to restrict entanglement.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    One Tonne of Rover....

    At one point, the ESA Exomars rover was going to have a ride share with a NASA rover (possibly this one). The ESA rover was described to me as a "mini rover", so having established the mass of the NASA rover as being ~ one metric Tonne, I asked if the NASA rover was actually a Rover Mini....

    1. NerryTutkins

      Re: One Tonne of Rover....

      "They've rebadged it, you fool!"

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7thvLM-PjUs

    2. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
      Alert

      Re: One Tonne of Rover....

      Mini Rover...

      The ItalianMartian Job

      Getting to Mars and back - a real cliffhanger!

  12. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Holy shit that was awesome!!!

    See title.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Holy shit that was awesome!!!

      Yes, I'm still amazed when I see the complexity of the landing, dictated by the atmosphere.

      Gosh: shield extraction + parachute + 8 rockets + this crazy crane landing the rover !

      So many steps could have gone glitchy that would have crashed to poor thing !

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Holy shit that was awesome!!!

        Yeah, watching the CGI when they first used this method was awe inspiring. Now we get to see it for real!!!!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Holy shit that was awesome!!!

          One of our senior engineers had cautionary advice for PFYs who thought running Spice was better than working with actual components. He used to say "Simulation is like masturbation - it feels so good you forget it is not the real thing".

  13. mmonroe

    Matt Damon

    When are they sending Matt Damon to drive it?

    1. nematoad Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Matt Damon

      Probably after they get some lead-lined underpants!

  14. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Mars probe success rate

    Landing a robotic rover on Mars is no easy feat; about 50 per cent of all attempts have ended in failure before Perseverance, it's said.

    It's not just said, it's true. However, this is over the whole history of sending probes to Mars: the first few were basically carefully aimed rockets. Recent missions are much more successful with NASA 3 for 3, I think. Even so, each mission is still essentially a prototype building on the previous ones: this one is the first to have a pinpoint landing; and it has a helicopter for the first time ever on such a probe. But, the next one is an even bigger challenge: not only getting safely to the right spot but launching a rocket back from there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mars probe success rate

      Having a rocket come back sounds pretty unlikely to me. Does anyone know what the chances of anything coming from Mars are?

      1. sitta_europea Bronze badge

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        Lots of rocks that are now on Earth came originally from Mars.

      2. 0laf Silver badge

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        They said a figure in 1897.

      3. Charlie Clark Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        Does anyone know what the chances of anything coming from Mars are?

        About a million to one…

        Where's the invisible man icon when you need it!

        1. Trigonoceps occipitalis Silver badge

          Re: Mars probe success rate

          So 99% then.

          (RIP Pterry.)

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        Well, this mission will be leaving samples podules for an eventual collection mission to come along and bring them back to earth. On the other hand, the timeline isn't to snappy and Elon might just get there first and offer to pick them up for NASA :-)

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        "Having a rocket come back sounds pretty unlikely to me."

        Seems fairly straightforward. Just a case of having enough fuel left to launch again. Then manoeuvre out of Mars orbit at the right time - possibly having had a rendezvous with an orbiter vehicle. A bit like the recent China moon mission - albeit with about double the gravity.

        The UAE Mars orbiter has pulled itself away from a close orbit as part of its final positioning. It wouldn't matter how long it would take for a rock transporter to get back to Earth without a continuous burn.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Mars probe success rate

          "Just a case of having enough fuel left to launch again."

          Just? That's a hell of an extra weight to carry and, worse, try to land with. That's why NASA et al are looking at landing empty fuelling tankers which can create fuel from the atmosphere over a period of long months in advance of a return vehicle landing close enough to run a hose over.

          That's one of the nice things about the latest lander. Using maps and terrain scanning they managed to land within 5 metres of their target spot. That experience will be crucial to landing near their return home fuel supply.

      6. HelpfulJohn

        Re: Mars probe success rate

        "Does anyone know what the chances of anything coming from Mars are?"

        Last week, a billion to one.

        This weekend, a million to one.

        Yesterday, a hundred to one ........

        ......and still they come!

        Next to "The Songs Of Distant Earth", one of the best musical adaptations of an SF novel.

        There's a sequel to "WOTW". It's as good as the original.

        There's a sequel to "The Time Machine", too. It, too, is excellent.

        Off-topic, yes, but someone might now go looking and find joy.

  15. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

    Someone didn’t carry the 0.0000001 in the calculations.

    Top work guys and gals.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: 5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

      From observed evidence many humans are incapable of parking their vehicles in supermarket car parks with an accuracy better than this.

    2. RM Myers Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: 5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

      Yeah, that's the problem with using floating point arithmetic. The rounding errors will get you every time.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: 5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

      5 metres, but the landing process was given autonomous ability to choose its own spot for a safe landing.

      1. CBR600

        Re: 5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

        Perhaps they can have a chat with Hermes as they can't seem to get a small package to my f#@###ing doorstep!!

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: 5 meters off target after travelling millions of kilometres

          One of the local lazy inbred Hermes drivers here considers flinging a parcel at the end of the road "delivered".

  16. sitta_europea Bronze badge

    Linux on Mars.

    They'll be fine as long as they didn't install pulseaudio.

    1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Linux on Mars.

      systemd

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux on Mars.

        systemd

        Can't we just send systemd on a trip to Venus?

        I mean all of systemd, the whole project.

        1. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Linux on Mars.

          all of systemd, the whole project.

          There is no rocket big enough.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NASA said during a press briefing that the heat shield and parachute crash-landed about 1.5km from Perseverance, and the descent stage 700 metres.

    Curious as to how they know this.

    All very impressive though!

    1. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Holmes

      That's easy. MRO got a pic of everything:

      https://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/perseverance-and-mars-2020-spacecraft-components-on-the-surface

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        D'oh. I'd forgotten all that hardware in orbit!

    2. David Nash

      There are pictures from the Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter.

      https://mars.nasa.gov/resources/25630/perseverance-and-mars-2020-spacecraft-components-on-the-surface/

    3. NerryTutkins
      Trollface

      They sent a guy with a pickup just outside the back lot, he picked them both up and took them back to the film studio.

      1. 0laf Silver badge
        Alien

        I wonder if they'll wander by any of these bits to see if they kicked up anything interesting when they lithobraked?

        Probably nothing there after the Jawas have stripped them.

  18. Annihilator Silver badge
    Trollface

    Correction

    "just five metres from its target"

    It's NASA, I'm sure you mean 16 feet from its target :-)

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Correction

      Nope, NASA tend to use proper measurements these days... since about 1990 really. Well, not proper measurements, but a step in the right direction. NASA often have to translate the units to outdated forms in press releases as the US is one of only two countries left on the planet to use such outdated measures.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Correction

        Correction: Three countries. I forgot Liberia (sorry Liberia).

        1. Martin Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Correction

          And the other other one is....?

          (I know I could look it up, but I thought you might like to inform us.)

          1. Anomalous Cowturd

            Re: Correction

            Myanmar / Burma.

      2. KarMann Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Correction

        Well, since about 1990 mostly. Then there was that pesky Mars Climate Orbiter incident… 1998/99.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Correction

        And by 'outdated' you mean more-accurate-without-modifiers? g-m-s or kg-m-s? they're your standards...

      4. Annihilator Silver badge

        Re: Correction

        True, but I was confidently assuming that el reg got this information from said press releases, that was the joke.

        Also see the article title... "293 million miles"...

      5. TeraTelnet

        Re: Correction

        It's always weird to me, considering the USA has been a member of the Metre Convention since 1878.

        Then there's the whole problem about having two different measurements for a foot...

  19. ZanzibarRastapopulous

    Nothing there...

    Yep, you can see a rock at the end.

  20. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

    Wind

    Sitting at home on Earth, listening to the wind blowing outside.

    Click on the audio link, listen to the wind blowing on Mars.

    Surreal

    Mind-blowing.

    1. Spherical Cow Bronze badge

      Re: Wind

      "Mind-blowing"

      Your W is upside down.

      1. Norman Nescio
        Joke

        Re: Wind

        What on Mars is "Mind-bloming"?

  21. Marty McFly
    Megaphone

    Said it before...

    To the total sum of human knowledge, Mars is a planet entirely populated by robots. This video is evidence the robot population continues to be repopulated from a neighboring planet as older robots expire. This is really the biggest threat to humanity, not Covid, Trump, or anything else. I don't know why our news media is not making a bigger deal out of this. Our planet could be next for robot colonization!

  22. TomJo

    It still seems to me that words such as miracle and so on are not very suitable. A huge number of qualified people worked on this project. They seem to be smart enough to calculate everything they need in advance.

    Nevertheless, this is an excellent result.

    I hope that the results of this mission will provide us with a lot of useful information.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The "miracle" is in not encountering any of Rumsfeld's "unknown unknowns" - although there were probably some fingers-crossed possible events that had no contingency.

      Murphy again: "There are a finite number of things that you can think of that might go wrong - and an infinite number off things that can go wrong"

  23. GBH

    thank you for this article

    Great article - thanks for sharing the video! great stuff!

  24. Garry Perez

    Waiting for that helicopter to take off and crash into the nearest tree, proving life does exist on Mars.

    And well done NASA, fantastic job

  25. briesmith

    Missed Opportunity?

    Why didn't they put a couple of $100 drones on the lander? There is enough atmosphere for parachutes to work so I am guessing there is enough for a drone to bite on?

    This one costs £99 with dimensions 29.5 x 20.5 x 9.3 cm and weighs 690 Grams. Some software revisions to make it fly patterns without control from base with automatic reconnection for recharging and you could map a whole lot more of the surface than the lander can cover. Just saying.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/EACHINE-Distance-1200Mah-Foldable-Quadcopter/dp/B089LVQ42H/ref=sr_1_6?adgrpid=53635035819&dchild=1&gclid=CjwKCAiA1eKBBhBZEiwAX3gql_NFT7BiWUXQy05k22RnQyldWI09i3NZqdNwZq5yPRqnwlrFKHMT6BoC6SgQAvD_BwE&hvadid=259045035030&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=1007004&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=b&hvrand=6702146350854066137&hvtargid=kwd-295218097859&hydadcr=14850_1829006&keywords=drone+with+good+camera&qid=1614354728&sr=8-6&tag=googhydr-21

    1. aqk
      Stop

      Re: Missed Opportunity?

      You'll need more than "software revisions".

      Will one of your drones fly at 180,000 feet up in Earth's ionosphere? That's about the density of the air on Mars.

      And I bet that those parachutes are not "ordinary" parachutes that skydivers use.

  26. HelpfulJohn

    An incredibly wonderful technical, engineering and scientific achievement.

    When I was born [allegedly, I don't really remember the events happening around me at the time] absolutely no man-made object had orbited the Earth. Today, we're landing alien, semi-autonomous, nuclear-powered robot tanks armed with death-rays on Mars. And helicopters!

    Those guys are truly impresive.

    I look forward to a Linux patch fixing the audio and the flight of the first extraterrestrial flying machine.

    Persevere, little robot and take your human friends to places "where no man - where no *one* - has gone before".

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